SEATTLE – Nearly 60 people are throwing their name into the ring to become one of seven new Seattle City Council members. It’s a big number for such few seats. The candidates include everyone from activists to a massage therapist.
Four of the seats will be open come election day after Sally Bagshaw, Mike O’Brien, Bruce Harrell, and Rob Johnson announced they won’t run for re-election. Incumbent council members Kshama Sawant, Debora Juarez, and Lisa Herbold are up for re-election and will face challengers.
Whether you call Seattle home, or the Emerald City is just a place to have fun, what happens here has a trickle-down effect throughout the Pacific Northwest.
“Democracy runs better with more choices,” said Seattle resident Susan O’Neil.
It’s simple for O’Neil: The more people running, the more likely we’ll solve the city’s biggest problems.
“The homelessness and addiction problems that we have…the problem of availability of affordable housing is huge,” said O’Neil.
Kelly Hehman has a top priority for the new council.
“It’s not a homeless issue, it’s drug addicts, mentally ill, and that’s where they need to tackle first,” said Seattle resident Kelly Hehman.
The council tried an employee head tax that would’ve taxed big businesses to pay for homelessness. But the vote was eventually repealed.
And O’Neil says the backlash is why we saw current city council members announcing they won’t run for re-election.
“That was an outrage. That was an outrage that it was repealed,” said O’Neil.
There are even stronger opinions about specific council members like Kshama Sawant, who’s up for re-election.
“I would like to see more like Kshama Sawant. More people who are willing to work and support the people falling through the cracks of our society,” said O’Neil.
But with nearly 60 people going after seven council spots, Hehman says it’s time for a fresh start.
“Clean the slate. That’s it. Just get rid of everybody and start anew again,” said Hehman.
Whoever stays or goes has big battles ahead including inheriting a new Key Arena project with the promise of the NHL and possibly the Sonics back to the city. It’s those attractions and employment that bring Steve from Renton into the city.
“I don’t want to see this city go down like so many other cities,” he said.
Although he can’t vote in the Seattle city council election, he’s keeping a close eye on who’s coming forward.
“I just want people who are going to do right for the people, not just for themselves,” said Steve.
Lorena Gonzalez and Teresa Mosqueda are not up for re-election.